Further Use: Wild Strawberry Leaves

On a cold and wet April 8th the first official gathering of the WFS set out in hopes of finding Fragaria virginiana and in particular, their new spring leaves. They are lovingly noted in Euell Gibbons, Stalking the Healthful Herbs (more on our good friend Euell later…) for their high vitamin C content (more potent than OJ), astringency (reducing the sebum output of your sebaceous glands) and diuretic (makes you pee more…) properties. Making the Wild Strawberry something you should get excited about way before you’re thinking of making pies. 

Fragaria virginiana
Lee mentioned at the last WFS meeting about the importance of checking where the most energy is being ‘held’ in the plant at the time you want to harvest it – when looking to utilize the leaves specifically, collect only a few of the new, bright green, undamaged leaves that emerge before the plant goes to flower, which is a sign that the energy has shifted to seed creation.

I experimented with the leaves to create an infused tisane and a facial tonic – both I really enjoyed and were simple to make. As with most ‘recipes’ there are guidelines and lots of room for experimenting, feel free to try out this method and alter as necessary:
  • 1 part Fragaria virginiana leaves
  • 3 parts hot water
Simple, yes? Some other important things to consider with this method: 
  1. Your Wild Strawberry leaves must be either really fresh or completely dried. The time in between allows for some chemical changes in the plant that are unwanted for this use.
  2. Boil the water in a pot or kettle and let sit for a few minutes before adding to the Wild Strawberry leaves. Boiling the leaves in the water, or adding boiling water can scald and damage them.  

I allowed mine to sit and steep overnight, strained the leaves and placed the jar in the fridge. Of course you could let it steep for a shorter time and drink it warm (tastes lovely with a bit of honey) but keeping it cool increases it’s shelf-life – this allowed me to add it to smoothies for a Vitamin C boost, and put some in a small spray bottle to mist on my face after washing to help with my oily skin.

Bonus: It smells just like rose water!

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